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Endometriosis Symptoms

Risk Factors and Endometriosis Symptoms

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Updated March 30, 2014

Endometriosis symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some women will have many symptoms, while others will have no symptoms besides infertility. With that being said, the following are potential risk factors and symptoms of endometriosis. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you should speak to your doctor.

You may also want to take this endometriosis symptoms quiz.

Painful Menstrual Cramps

Photo: Tom Le Goff / Getty Images
Painful menstrual cramps may be a sign of endometriosis, though menstrual cramps can be caused by other conditions, too. Mild cramping around the time of your period is quite common, even more so for teenagers who have just started menstruating. However, cramps caused by endometriosis are more intense, sometimes causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some women with endometriosis are forced to miss work or school during their period -- the pain is bad enough to interfere with their daily life.

General Pelvic Pain

About 20% of women with endometriosis will have pelvic pain throughout their cycles, and not just during menstruation. It’s important to note that the amount of pelvic pain you experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of the endometriosis. You can have mild endometriosis, and suffer from severe pelvic pain, or have severe endometriosis, and have little or no pelvic pain.

Painful Sexual Intercourse

Painful intercourse is another potential symptom of endometriosis. Intercourse may be painful only in certain positions, specifically during deep penetration. The pain may also come and go throughout the menstrual cycle. Some women with endometriosis have more pain around the time of ovulation. This can interfere with getting pregnant, since you may be less likely to have sex around your most fertile time.

Heavy Menstrual Periods

Women with endometriosis may have heavier bleeding and longer lasting menstruation. They may also get their periods more frequently.

Infertility

Endometriosis may be found in up to 50% of infertile women, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. As we said above, not every woman with endometriosis will show symptoms or have painful periods. Some women only find out about the endometriosis while being evaluated for infertility.

Depression and Fatigue

Infertility commonly causes anxiety.
Photo: Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Depression and fatigue can result from endometriosis, and they are most likely caused by other symptoms of the disease. For example, you may feel exhausted and depressed from dealing with pain throughout your cycle or period. Infertility and a difficult sex life (from painful intercourse) can lead to depression or anxiety.

Bladder Problems

Endometriosis can also cause blood in the urine, and pain upon urinating. In severe cases of endometriosis, endometrial tissue may grow around or even inside the bladder, leading to pain and bleeding. If you experience bleeding when you urinate, you should contact your doctor.

Constipation and/or Diarrhea

Some women with endometriosis deal with on-and-off constipation or diarrhea. It may get worse around the time of menstruation. Also, some women will experience pain during bowel movements. In severe cases, endometriosis may develop within the bowel itself.

Family History of Endometriosis

While the cause of endometriosis is not understood, there may be a genetic link to the disease. Some experts say that if you have a mother or sister with endometriosis, your chances of developing the disease is about 7%. Having a first-degree relative with endometriosis may also increase the risk of having a more severe case.

Sources:

Endometriosis. A.D.A.M. Healthcare Center. Accessed March 23, 2009. http://adam.about.net/reports/Endometriosis.htm

Endometriosis: A Guide for Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Accessed March 23, 2009. http://asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/endometriosis.pdf

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